A Message From Our Founder and Chairman - Laura Meddens

We have much to tell you about as we complete our Spring updates to our website. The past few months have seen earthquakes strike in Haiti and Chile with disastrous consequences, especially for persons with disabilities. In a country where anyone with a disability is considered bad luck for a family, and abandoned by society, the rebuilding effort also requires a rebuilding of attitudes, especially if Haiti is to cope with the thousands of people newly disabled by amputations because of crush injuries.

We have also witnessed an increase in abuse of the disabled with violent consequences. Both topics are the subjects of special reports in our In Depth section.

We also address how disabling peoples' attitudes can be to anyone with sensory, physical or learning disabilities with the panel of local and international participants from our ABLED Fundraiser in December. And to all who attended or helped with, sponsored or contributed to the event, a very big Thank You! You can read more detail about it on our ABLED Fundraiser page.

On a personal note, I'd like to send heartfelt appreciation to everyone who was kind enough to send good wishes for the eye surgeries I've required since our event, Wagner's recovery from tick fever, and especially for the many kind condolences on the sudden passing of my father, Leo. He, along with my mother Beatrice have been great supporters of our Foundation's mission and I miss him very much. If you'd like to know a bit more about him, you can visit his online memorial at www.LeoMeddens.com.

As we emerge from a sad beginning to 2010, we are progressing with the development of our ABLED system of software and digital devices to be able to utilize them to create new learning, training and job opportunities for persons with disabilities in Curaçao, who then provide ABLED services for the disabled community around the world.

As a non-profit NGO (Non-Governmental Organization), we rely completely on financial contributions from businesses, Foundations and individuals to make all of this happen. Please visit our DONATE page to learn how you can support our ABLED initiative that will bring transformational change to the lives of persons with disabilities. Thank you!

Message from our Past-Chairman - Reyna Joe 2008-2010

Board members are elected for a two-year term

The Power of Asking Yourself : 'What If ?'

Dear Visitor,

‘What if?’ A question you may have asked yourself only to know that there was no need for a real answer. But you are visiting our website at this moment because you may understand the question: ‘What if’ your helper could not enter everywhere with you? ‘What if’ you have to stay home and cannot move the way you would like and need to? ‘What if’ you need assistance for all your basic needs?  ‘What if’, ‘what if’ and ‘what if’.

These 'what ifs' don’t get the same answer from you and me that they do from  those in our families or communities who live with a disability.

The Laura and Wagner Foundation became a reality based on a real answer to ‘what if’ a disabled person's independence of mobility was, itself disabled, because their guide dog cannot go everywhere because people in Curaçao do not accept the presence of dogs; not even if it is a well trained dog like Wagner, the guide dog of Laura de Haseth Meddens, Founder of our organization.

In a community where dogs are mainly trained to guard property, it is understandable that there is a real need for the re-programming of how people view dogs and the abilities that specially trained dogs have. The Laura and Wagner Foundation stands for that and we do hope via different ways to get local people to understand that a guide dog must have access anywhere, simply because in the case of the blind or visually impaired, the guide dog is the eyes of that person.

I invite you to join us in this noble and much needed effort to guarantee access for disabled persons who rely on  guide and assistance dogs everywhere that non-disabled people go. Please help us by whatever means possible: spreading the word and raising awareness, or via  financial support.

We thank you for any support and please keep visiting our website to stay informed on our developments.

Kind regards and ‘what if’ if you do sign the petition?

Reyna Joe

Past-Chairman, The Laura and Wagner Foundation